The Indus Health Network (IHN) will introduce Pakistan’s first “boat clinic” which will serve the most vulnerable population in Southern Punjab, barely touched by development with limited access to any type of health services.
“The clinic will provide quality screening and primary care services free-of-charge. Patients in need of secondary and tertiary level care will be referred to the IHN partner and referral sites,” an official statement said.
The catchment area is home to approximately 105,000 people which is further divided into 47% male and 53% female population, it added.
“The inhabitants are marginalised and vulnerable, with bare minimum access to communications. The area gets completely submerged during the floods. In such a scenario, the only way to get healthcare is by boat.”
The “boat clinic” services will be soon launched in the coming month with a couple of docking points which will be expanded to its full scope of docking stations by the end of the year.
“At each docking point, patients will be registered, screened, and have their vitals assessed before a doctor’s visit. The boat will have a lab collection unit and pharmacy as well,” the IHN said.
The clinic will be equipped with all the basic necessities. The unique initiative will integrate public health services identified by the community and provide access to immunisation, paediatric, nutrition, family planning, breastfeeding, deworming, Hepatitis C, mental health services.
The statement said that the the Primary Care Programme (PCP) was initiated in 2017 under the Indus Health Network’s Global Health Directorate to address a growing need of providing free-of-cost and high-quality care at first-contact for our population.
“The programme integrates family medicine with public health interventions and puts a premium on preventive care through community-based teams linked to each centre.”
The Primary Care Programme manages 25 Primary Care facilities across Pakistan. These facilities include 12 hospital-based facilities such as the flagship Family Medicine Clinic at the Indus Hospital, Karachi, and others in Badin, Muzaffargarh, Multan and Lahore. It also operates 12 standalone clinics in the districts of Tharparkar, Jamshoro, Muzaffargarh, Kashmir, Rahimyar Khan, and Karachi.
The clinics are also functional in Jahangir Siddiqui Hospital, Sehwan, Khorwah Chowk, Islamkot Hospital, and A&M Memorial Hospital, Kashmir, the statement further added.